IPv4 vs IPv6: What’s the Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6?
What is IP?
An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numerical label assigned to each device connected to a computer network that uses the IP protocol for communication. An IP address acts as an identifier for a specific device on a particular network. The IP address is also called an IP number or Internet address.
IP address specifies the technical format of the addressing and packets scheme. Most networks combine IP with a TCP (Transmission Control Protocol). It also allows developing a virtual connection between a destination and a source.
Now in this IPv4 and IPv6 difference tutorial, we will learn What is IPv4 and IPv6?
What is IPv4?
IPv4 is an IP version widely used to identify devices on a network using an addressing system. It was the first version of IP deployed for production in the ARPANET in 1983. It uses a 32-bit address scheme to store 2^32 addresses which is more than 4 billion addresses. It is considered the primary Internet Protocol and carries 94% of Internet traffic.
What is IPv6?
IPv6 is the most recent version of the Internet Protocol. This new IP address version is being deployed to fulfill the need for more Internet addresses. It was aimed to resolve issues that are associated with IPv4. With 128-bit address space, it allows 340 undecillion unique address space. IPv6 is also called IPng (Internet Protocol next generation).
Internet Engineer Taskforce initiated it in early 1994. The design and development of that suite are now called IPv6.
IPv4 is 32-Bit IP address whereas IPv6 is a 128-Bit IP address.
IPv4 is a numeric addressing method whereas IPv6 is an alphanumeric addressing method.
IPv4 binary bits are separated by a dot(. ) whereas IPv6 binary bits are separated by a colon(:).
IPv4 offers 12 header fields whereas IPv6 offers 8 header fields.
IPv4 supports broadcast whereas IPv6 doesn’t support broadcast.
IPv4 has checksum fields while IPv6 doesn’t have checksum fields
When we compare IPv4 and IPv6, IPv4 supports VLSM (Variable Length Subnet Mask) whereas IPv6 doesn’t support VLSM.
IPv4 uses ARP (Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address whereas IPv6 uses NDP (Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address.
Features of IPv4
Following are the features of IPv4:
Allow creating a simple virtual communication layer over diversified devices
It requires less memory, and ease of remembering addresses
Already supported protocol by millions of devices
Offers video libraries and conferences
Features of IPv6
Here are the features of IPv6:
Hierarchical addressing and routing infrastructure
Stateful and Stateless configuration
Support for quality of service (QoS)
An ideal protocol for neighboring node interaction
IPv4 vs IPv6
Difference Between IPv4 and IPv6 Addresses
IPv4 & IPv6 are both IP addresses that are binary numbers. Comparing IPv6 vs IPv4, IPv4 is 32 bit binary number while IPv6 is 128 bit binary number address. IPv4 address are separated by periods while IPv6 address are separated by colons.
Both are used to identify machines connected to a network. In principle, they are the same, but they are different in how they work. Below are the main differences between IPv4 and IPv6:
Basis for differences
Size of IP address
IPv4 is a 32-Bit IP Address.
IPv6 is 128 Bit IP Address.
IPv4 is a numeric address, and its binary bits are separated by a dot (. )
IPv6 is an alphanumeric address whose binary bits are separated by a colon (:). It also contains hexadecimal.
Number of header fields
Length of header filed
Has checksum fields
Does not have checksum fields
12. 244. 233. 165
Type of Addresses
Unicast, broadcast, and multicast.
Unicast, multicast, and anycast.
Number of classes
IPv4 offers five different classes of IP Address. Class A to E.
lPv6 allows storing an unlimited number of IP Address.
You have to configure a newly installed system before it can communicate with other systems.
In IPv6, the configuration is optional, depending upon on functions needed.
IPv4 support VLSM (Variable Length Subnet mask).
IPv6 does not offer support for VLSM.
Fragmentation is done by sending and forwarding routes.
Fragmentation is done by the sender.
Routing Information Protocol (RIP)
RIP is a routing protocol supported by the routed daemon.
RIP does not support IPv6. It uses static routes.
Networks need to be configured either manually or with DHCP. IPv4 had several overlays to handle Internet growth, which require more maintenance efforts.
IPv6 support autoconfiguration capabilities.
Widespread use of NAT (Network address translation) devices which allows single NAT address can mask thousands of
non-routable addresses, making end-to-end
It allows direct addressing because of vast address
Use for the designated network from host portion.
SNMP is a protocol used for system management.
SNMP does not support IPv6.
Mobility & Interoperability
Relatively constrained network topologies to which move restrict mobility and interoperability capabilities.
IPv6 provides interoperability and mobility
capabilities which are embedded in network devices.
Security is dependent on applications – IPv4 was not designed with security in mind.
IPSec(Internet Protocol Security) is built into the IPv6 protocol, usable with
a proper key infrastructure.
Packet size 576 bytes required, fragmentation optional
1208 bytes required without fragmentation
Allows from routers and sending host
Sending hosts only
Does not identify packet flow for QoS handling which includes checksum options.
Packet head contains Flow Label field that specifies packet flow for QoS handling
Address (A) records, maps hostnames
Address (AAAA) records, maps hostnames
Manual or via DHCP
Stateless address autoconfiguration using Internet Control Message Protocol version 6 (ICMPv6) or DHCPv6
IP to MAC resolution
Multicast Neighbour Solicitation
Local subnet Group management
Internet Group Management Protocol GMP)
Multicast Listener Discovery (MLD)
Has Optional Fields
Does not have optional fields. But Extension headers are available.
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) concerning network security is optional
Internet Protocol Security (IPSec) Concerning network security is mandatory
Dynamic host configuration Server
Clients have approach DHCS (Dynamic Host Configuration server) whenever they want to connect to a network.
A Client does not have to approach any such server as they are given permanent addresses.
Uses ARP(Address Resolution Protocol) to map to MAC address
Uses NDP(Neighbour Discovery Protocol) to map to MAC address
Combability with mobile devices
IPv4 address uses the dot-decimal notation. That’s why it is not suitable for mobile networks.
IPv6 address is represented in hexadecimal, colon- separated notation.
IPv6 is better suited to mobile
IPv4 and IPv6 cannot communicate with other but can exist together on the same network. This is known as Dual Stack.
IPv4 vs. IPv6: What’s the Difference? | Avast
IPv4: a brief history
Before we get into the differences between the two IP address protocols, what’s IPv4? Well, an IP address is a string of numbers that is assigned to a device to identify it on the internet. It is an address, just as the number and street of your home is an address. While your home address is used to send you mail, your IP address is used to send packets of data that you request.
Internet Protocol version 4, generally referred to as IPv4, was developed in the early 1980s. An IPv4 address comprises four numbers, each ranging from 0 to 255, which are separated by periods. For example, Avast’s IP address is 5. 62. 42. 77. There is more to IP addresses, and it helps to understand the essentials of TCP/IP as well, but these are the basics.
Every website has an IP address; we just don’t use them anymore, typically. In the early days of the internet, it was necessary to know a website’s IP address in order to navigate to it. Then, the Domain Name Service (DNS) came along, which translates numbers into names. So when you type in “ the DNS translates that back to 5. This enables us to navigate the web much more conveniently, as it’s much easier to recall a website’s name than its IP address.
Have we run out of IPv4 addresses?
IPv4 has a theoretical limit of 4. 3 billion addresses, and in 1980, that was more than enough. But as the internet grew and went global, we quickly ran out of addresses, especially in today’s era of smartphones and IoT devices.
The internet has been running out of IPv4 addresses since the 1990s. While clever engineers have found ways around the problem, it wasn’t long before a more permanent fix became the goal. Developed to solve these capacity issues for good, IPv6 was needed when IPv4 could no longer support the load.
At present, IPv4 coexists on the internet with its newer version, though eventually, everything will use IPv6. Replacing old IPv4 equipment would be prohibitively expensive and disruptive, and so IPv6 is being slowly rolled out as older IPv4 hardware is retired.
IPv6: the future of the web?
Internet Protocol version 6, or IPv6, was first introduced in the late 1990s as a replacement for IPv4. Even then the builders of the internet realized IPv4’s limitations and the eventual shortage.
IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses, allowing for a theoretical 340, 282, 366, 920, 938, 463, 463, 374, 607, 431, 768, 211, 456, or 340 undecillion addresses. IPv6 addresses are represented as eight groups of four hexadecimal digits, with the groups being separated by colons. One example might be “2002:0de6:0001:0042:0100:8c2e:0370:7234, ” but methods to abbreviate this full notation exist.
In addition to increasing the supply of IP addresses, IPv6 also addressed IPv4’s many shortcomings — chief among them being security, which we’ll delve into more later.
IPv4 vs. IPV6
The advent of IPv6 brought more functionality, in addition to more IP addresses. For example, IPv6 supports multicast addressing, which allows bandwidth-intensive packet flows (such as multimedia streams) to be sent to multiple destinations simultaneously, reducing network bandwidth. But is IPv6 better than IPv4? Let’s find out.
IPv6 has a new feature called autoconfiguration, which allows a device to generate an IPv6 address as soon as it powers up and puts itself on the network. The device begins by looking for an IPv6 router. If one is present, the device can generate a local address and a globally routable address, allowing access to the wider internet. In IPv4-based networks, the process of adding devices often has to be done manually.
IPv6 allows devices to stay connected to several networks simultaneously. This is due to interoperability and configuration capabilities that enable the hardware to automatically assign multiple IP addresses to the same device.
Next, we examine the differences between IPv4 and IPv6 through the lenses of speed and security.
IPv4 vs. IPv6: Speed comparison
How do IPv4 and IPv6 compare when it comes to speed? The security blog Sucuri ran a series of tests in which they found that in direct connections, IPv4 and IPv6 delivered the same speed. IPv4 occasionally won the test.
In theory, IPv6 should be a little faster since cycles don’t have to be wasted on NAT translations. But IPv6 also has larger packets, which may make it slower for some use cases. What really makes a difference at this point is that IPv4 networks are mature and thus highly optimized, more so than IPv6 networks. So with time and tuning, IPv6 networks will get faster.
IPv4 vs. IPv6: Security comparison
IPv6 was built with more security in mind. IP Security (IPSec) is a series of IETF security protocols for security, authentication, and data integrity, and it’s fully integrated into IPv6. The thing is, IPSec can also be fully integrated into IPv4. It’s up to ISPs to implement it — and not all companies do.
IPv6 is designed for end-to-end encryption, so in theory, widespread adoption of IPv6 will make man-in-the-middle attacks significantly more difficult.
IPv6 also supports more-secure name resolution. The Secure Neighbor Discovery (SEND) protocol adds a security extension to the Neighbor Discovery Protocol (NDP), which handles discovery of other network nodes on a local link. By default, NDP is not secure, so it can be susceptible to malicious interference. SEND secures NDP with a cryptographic method that is independent of IPsec.
Thanks to native IPSec, IPv6 provides two security headers which can be used separately or together: the Authentication Header (AH) and Encapsulating Security Payload (ESP). Authentication Header provides data-origin authentication and protection against replay attacks, while ESP delivers connectionless integrity, data-origin authentication, protection against replay attacks, and limited traffic flow confidentiality, as well as privacy and confidentiality through encryption of the payload. IPv4 can also have this protection if IPSec is implemented on the network.
IPv4 has been significantly updated over the years, so the difference between IPv4 and IPv6 security is not extraordinary. The same IPSec in IPv6 is now available for IPv4; it’s up to network providers and end users alike to embrace and use it — so a properly configured IPv4 network can be as secure as an IPv6 network.
Avast SecureLine VPN is currently compatible only with IPv4, but keeps your IP completely hidden with bank-grade encryption to maintain safety and anonymity online.
Additional benefits of IPv6
IPv6 allows for binding a public signature key — one-half of an asymmetric encryption system, the other being the private key — to an IPv6 address. The resulting Cryptographically Generated Address allows the user to demonstrate “proof of ownership” for a particular IPv6 address and validate their identity. It is impossible to retrofit this functionality to IPv4 with the current 32-bit address space constraint.
The new protocol also enables end-to-end connectivity at the IP layer by eliminating the need for Network Address Translation (NAT) — one of the workarounds designed to conserve IPv4 addresses. This transition opens the door for new and valuable services. Peer-to-peer networks are easier to create and maintain, and services such as VoIP and Quality of Service (QoS) become more robust.
Also, IPv6 brings the ability to belong to many networks simultaneously, with a unique address on each network, and the ability to combine multiple enterprise networks without readdressing.
Ultimately: Is IPv6 better? Usually, but not always. If you’re asking yourself, “Should I use IPv6? ” read on before making your decision.
How to disable IPv6 on Windows, Mac, and Linux
Since very few VPN services support IPv6, IPv6 traffic on your physical NIC may leak information about your online activity or your hardware MAC address. For that reason, if your ISP does support IPv6, but you use a VPN like SecureLine VPN, you should disable IPv6 on your system.
The first thing to do is determine if your ISP supports IPv6. Comcast most notably does and makes a lot of noise about it. However, plenty of big-name ISPs do not, such as Spectrum (which you may know as Time Warner or Road Runner). This site will help you determine if your ISP supports it.
If the IPv6 connectivity test says “Not supported, ” then you are OK and your IPv6 address isn’t leaking. Spectrum falls into this category. If the test for IPv6 connectivity says “Supported, ” then you should consider disabling the IPv6 in your operating system.
Instructions for disabling IPv6 are available for Windows, MacOS, and Linux.
Why don’t we switch to IPv6 permanently?
We will, in time. Legacy technologies take a long time to die off, and the switch to a replacement is never as fast as its supporters would prefer. There will be a permanent migration to IPv6, but it will take decades to achieve. The Internet Society reported last year that there are 24 countries in the world where IPv6 totals more than 15% of overall IP traffic, and 49 that have topped the 5% threshold. So migration from IPv4 to IPv6 is progressing very slowly.
How to Protect your IP address
Why protect your IP address? With your location showing, you expose yourself to a variety of security and privacy issues, such as:
Packet sniffing: Hackers can observe your IP traffic to find out sensitive information about you such as your online banking activity.
Surveillance: Your ISP, snoops, and even governments can spy on your web Websites can see your location and discriminate against you based on it. They can block content and even raise prices.
Avast SecureLine VPN hides your IP address and anonymizes your online activity to keep you safe online. Take back your online privacy in just one click.
IPv6: Five Things You Should Know – PCWorld
Today is the day IPv6 finally goes live. For as long as there has been an Internet IPv4 has been synonymous with IP and nobody really stopped to think about which version of the protocol it was. But IPv4 has outlived its usefulness.
Researchers saw the writing on the wall, and could predict based on the rate of growth for Internet use and IP-connected devices that IPv4 couldn’t last forever. IPv6 has been in development for nearly two decades. Now the next-generation protocol is ready to replace IPv4 and assume its place as the backbone of the Internet.
So what exactly is IPv6 and what does it mean to you?
IPv6 goes live today and begins the slow transition off of is IPv6 necessary?
The most obvious answer is that IPv4 is out of IP addresses. IPv4 has only 4. 3 billion addresses, and with PCs, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, and just about everything else connecting to the Internet we’ve tapped the system dry. IPv6 uses 128-bit addresses and is capable of 340 undecillion addresses. That is 340 times 10 to the 36th power, or 340 trillion trillion trillion possible IP addresses.
How is IPv6 different/better than IPv4?
Expanding the pool of IP addresses (putting it mildly) yields other benefits as well. Because of the dearth of IPv4 addresses, much of the Internet relies on NAT (Network Address Translation). With IPv6, every device can literally have its own unique public IP address.
Most home and small business users really only have one IP address on the Internet–the one assigned to the router that connects them to their ISP. The router in turn issues IP addresses internally to the devices that attach to it, but must constantly keep track of which traffic belongs to which device, and translate the IP address from the internal one to the public one in order to facilitate communications with the Internet.
Tri Nguyen, a representative of ZyXEL, explains, “All devices will be accessible on the public network, making it easier for people to manage things like home automation, file sharing, online gaming, peer-to-peer programs and other applications without complex settings on their router. ”
Nguyen adds that there are also features of the IPv6 protocol itself that make it more secure than IPv4. The integrity and authenticity of each IPv6 packet is ensured through encryption, and techniques aimed at preventing packet spoofing. IPv6 is much better than IPv4 at making sure Internet traffic gets to the correct destination without being intercepted.
Will my IPv4 devices still work / connect to the Internet?
In a word, yes. IPv4 and IPv6 are not directly compatible, but researchers realized that they couldn’t simply flip a switch and turn off IPv4 while most of the world still depended on it. IPv6 devices are built using a process called dual stack that allows IPv6 and IPv4 to run simultaneously alongside each other.
Nguyen says, “IPv4 support will not be dropped any time soon, and legacy IPv4 hardware should continue to function well into the future. ”
Is it urgent to switch to IPv6?
The fact is the vast majority of the devices connected to the Internet today are not compatible with IPv6, and the dual-stack technology ensures that legacy IPv4 devices will still work for the foreseeable future. So, no–it’s not urgent to switch to IPv6.
That said, IPv6 should still be on your radar. ZyXEL’s Nguyen cautions, however, that in regions that run out of IPv4 addresses completely, new hosts being connected to the Internet could be forced to rely on IPv6 addresses.
SMBs need to be aware that IPv6 is here, and make sure that any future PC, mobile device, network infrastructure, or other IT purchases support the next-generation protocol. IPv4 should still be alive and kicking long enough for most organizations to transition to IPv6 by attrition over time.
What are the top three reasons an SMB should care or make the switch to IPv6?
The simple fact of the matter is that IPv6 will soon be the only option for adding new devices or hosts on the Internet. SMBs should be transitioning to IPv6 so they’re prepared when the inevitable day comes that IPv4 is no longer supported. Embracing IPv6 sooner rather than later will allow SMBs to operate with the peace of mind that the extinction of IPv4 won’t impact their businesses.
Nguyen explains, “IPv6 simplifies and speeds up data transmission by handling packets more efficiently, and removing the need to check packet integrity. This frees valuable router time that can be better-spent moving data. ”
With enough unique IP addresses to go around (and then some), organizations won’t have to rely on NAT to connect to the Internet. IPv6 eliminates most of the address conflict issues common under IPv4, and enables more streamlined connections and communication for devices
When networking gurus and researchers developed IPv4 security hadn’t really crossed their minds. IPv4 was never meant to be secure.
IPv6 has been built from the ground up with security in mind. Many of the security features that have been duct-taped after the fact onto IPv4 as optional features are integrated into IPv6 as default requirements. IPv6 encrypts traffic and checks packet integrity to provide VPN-like protection for standard Internet traffic.
Frequently Asked Questions about ipv4 and ipv6 differences
Which is faster IPv4 or IPv6?
IPv4 occasionally won the test. In theory, IPv6 should be a little faster since cycles don’t have to be wasted on NAT translations. But IPv6 also has larger packets, which may make it slower for some use cases. … So with time and tuning, IPv6 networks will get faster.May 8, 2020
Is IPv6 better than IPv4?
IPv6 is much better than IPv4 at making sure Internet traffic gets to the correct destination without being intercepted. Will my IPv4 devices still work / connect to the Internet? … IPv6 devices are built using a process called dual stack that allows IPv6 and IPv4 to run simultaneously alongside each other.Jun 6, 2012